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centrate reform efforts on low- performing schools. In California, teachers like Amy Kraft in Sacra- mento County have been doing just that for a few years now thanks to a CTA-sponsored law that’s helping our schools of great- est need succeed. Her school, Oakdale Elemen- Data show QEIA schools making academic gains U .S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan likes to talk about states needing to con- No other state has made this kind of targeted commitment of resources to help its troubled schools. Over eight years, the tar- geted QEIA schools will get nearly $3 billion in help. CTA President David A. San- tary in the Twin Rivers Unified School District — one of 499 schools targeted by the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) — has made huge academic gains, thanks to extra resources provided to those sites. New data show sig- nificant academic growth is taking place at Oakdale, which nailed down a remarkable Academic Per- formance Index (API) score of 828 for 2008-09. When the CTA-sponsored QEIA (SB 1133) was enacted in 2006, eligible schools were those in the bottom two deciles for performance. The legislation grew out of the settlement of a lawsuit between CTA and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over funding owed to schools under Proposition 98. Kraft says, “QEIA has allowed us to fully implement our vision for Oakdale,” a vision that in- cludes meeting the individual needs of all students and expect- ing more from them. “Our stu- dents deserve the best education we can offer, and that means we need the necessary resources available to us in order to accom- plish this. QEIA has been an in- valuable resource for our staff and students.” chez says new data showing suc- cess at QEIA schools are prelimi- nary, but undeniable. The data show why investing in challenged schools instead of punishing them is by far the better choice, he says. “These targeted schools of greatest need are making class- room gains because of proven re- forms like smaller class sizes, ex- tra teachers, more counselors and better staff training,” Sanchez says. “What teachers predicted about the value of this landmark CTA-sponsored law three years ago is coming true today. In- creased achievement by students in QEIA schools is happening across the state.” On average, the 499 QEIA schools scored 5 points higher than similar schools in the state’s API for the 2008-09 school year — the first full year of extra QEIA resources. Also, 351 of the 499 QEIA schools met their API aca- demic growth targets. The state’s API accountability system uses test scores to gauge progress and sets a target of 800 for every public school. Seven QEIA schools exceeded this 800 API score benchmark, and Twin Rivers Superintendent Frank Por- ter was elated that the collabora- tion of teachers, parents and stu- dents was paying off. “QEIA provides the resources and focus needed to fundamen- tally improve student learning,” 26 California Educator | november 2009 says Porter. “At Oakdale Elemen- tary, teachers, administrators, staff, and families have worked together in the best interest of students and have made an amazing difference. Oakdale, a school serving low-in- come students where 89 percent qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches, grew their school API score 152 points in two years. That represents significant student learning that may not have hap- pened without QEIA.” In San Diego County, three QEIA schools in the same Chula Vista Elementary School District also had API scores greater than 800. The QEIA-funded resources, excellent teachers and committed administrators raised the API scores at Harborside Elementary (845), Otay Elementary (824), and Silver Wing Elementary (805), says Peg Myers, president of Chula Vista Educators. Myers also cited smaller class sizes — about 24 students maxi- mum in grades 4-6, and 20 in the lower grades — as a key to success, along with teacher collaboration time. “It’s true collaborating. They plan together. Everybody has in- put and everyone is respected.” Parents and administrators are joining teachers in praising the new data showing the progress of QEIA schools. “Parents want the best for their children, and the data show that QEIA clearly can help to deliver Continued on page 36 QEIA accomplishments Schools leaving Program Improvement • • • • • • • • • • • Alameda County: Marilyn Avenue Elementary, Livermore Valley Joint Unified; ACORN Woodland Elementary, Oakland Unified. Los Angeles County: Aeolian Elementary, Los Nietos Elementary District; Evergreen Elementary, East Whittier City Elementary District. Orange County: Martin Elementary, Santa Ana Unified; Kinoshita Elementary, Capistrano Unified; Melrose Elementary, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified. Tulare County: Jefferson Elementary, Dinuba Unified. Schools exceeding the state’s API score target of 800 Sacramento County: Oakdale Elementary, 828 API score, Twin Rivers Unified. San Diego County: Harborside Elementary, 845, Otay Elementary, 824, and Silver Wing Elementary, 805, all in the Chula Vista Elementary School District; Clover Flat Elementary, 825, Mountain Empire Unified. San Francisco County: Miraloma Elementary, 851, San Francisco Unified. Ventura County: Grace S. Thille Elementary, 827, Santa Paula Elementary School District. The top three of the 51 QEIA schools that gained 50 points or more in API growth for the 2008-09 school year Shasta County: Juniper Academy, 122 points, Redding Elementary School District. San Francisco County: Malcolm X Academy, 99 points, San Francisco Unified. Riverside County: Cahuilla Desert Academy Junior High, 98 points, Coachella Valley Unified.

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